Chua Hui Wan, CEO, ZUJI Pte Ltd, met up with the Go Away team to reveal the travel trends the company believes will influence travel bookings in the coming year.
Pioneering online travel agency ZUJI started in 2002 offering travellers the convenience of planning and booking their vacations at the click of the mouse. Today, travellers have no lack of choices when it comes to online travel and accommodation services. So, what makes ZUJI unique and why should we use ZUJI? “At ZUJI,” explains Chua, “we pride ourselves on being able to make travel booking quick, easy, and a positive experience. From searching to booking, all it takes is 4 steps.” The depth and breadth of ZUJI’s product offerings make it possible for the customer to make the best decision relating to his/her travel plans.
Competing in an overcrowded environment has made it necessary to study the habits of their customers and use the data collected to predict the trends that will influence travel bookings. “Besides Google Analytics and data collected from internal bookings, ZUJI also polls our fans and customers on our site and on Facebook (we call this the ZUJI-dex, a quarterly report) to find out what their habits are like. With the information, we are then able to figure out where our strengths are, and what else we can be good at. We share the information with our travel partners too so they can leverage on the insights the ZUJI-dex provides.”
Chua believes the ZUJI’s success lies also in its ability to engage the customer. “Often the online marketplace is transactional and impersonal. At ZUJI, our tagline is ‘memories begin here’ because we don’t just want to close the deal – we want to stimulate the desire to travel. That’s why we have sections on the site that provide inspiration and value. Our Passport tab contains inspiring writeups on travel while Exclusives taps into the popularity of voucher deals to offer our customers awesome packages at the best price possible. We have a no-question-asked 21 days money back guarantee where if you’ve purchased your voucher but have yet confirmed your booking with the supplier, and you want your money back within 21 days of your purchase, just ask us.”
Before ZUJI even releases its ZUJI-dex for June 2015, it shares some of the insights it’s gathered with Go Away:
1. More young Singaporeans are including volunteering as part of their travel experience
“We are seeing a lot of younger Singaporeans getting involved in volunteer work when they travel. These are usually more predominant amongst students who have just graduated from school and are planning their grad trips. 60% of such trips happen within Asia, with countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia being most popular. This said, we do hope that young people will also volunteer at home – not just when they’re overseas.”
2. Last-minute bookings are becoming even more popular
“Last-minute bookings are defined as bookings made 1 to 7 days before departure. When ZUJI first started, customers could book a ticket as late as 48 hours before departure. We have since shortened that to just 24 hours. What this shows is that price is not the be all and end all when it comes to travel decisions. A lot of people are deciding on their travel plans very spontaneously – a group of friends meeting up over tea and deciding to go on a holiday over the coming long weekend, let’s go!”
3. Business class travels are increasing
“This segment has seen a 60% growth year-on-year. A lot of business travellers – mainly SMEs – are now eschewing the corporate travel agencies to book directly with ZUJI. For one, this saves them the service fees, and second, they can count on the existing good relationships we have with airlines to ensure they get good deals.”
4. Singaporeans are still not buying travel insurance
“This is the statistic that really shocked me: Up to 45% of Singaporeans travelling overseas don’t buy travel insurance. Travel insurance is relatively inexpensive but it covers you for cases like delayed flights, cancelled flights, lost luggage, and health emergencies. I highly recommend getting one when you travel.”
5. The number of solo travellers is growing
“It used to be that deals are offered as 2-to-go (when 2 people travel together). These days, more and more people are booking vacations as solo travellers. In fact, 2-to-go is no longer a popular option.”
6. Mobile for research, desktop to book
“We have found that most people do their research on a destination or on ticket prices using their smartphones. However, despite the predominance of smartphones in our lives these days, people are still booking their air tickets on desktop. I think this is because a desktop still provides a better view and idea of the breadth and depth of options available. But hotel bookings using mobile have gone up. I believe this is because a customer has either make up his/her mind about where to stay or based his/her decision on the images and info provided, making comparisons not a priority.”
7. The up-and-coming destinations are …
“People are looking for alternatives to the usual suspects. So, instead of Australia, more and more are opting for New Zealand. Sri Lanka [pictured above] and Myanmar are definitely growing in popularity amongst travellers too. In southeast Asia, Phu Quoc in Vietnam is, right now, THE place to check out.”
Visit ZUJI at www.zuji.com.sg for more details on travel deals.
28 Oct 2016